Author(s): Zacharias J
BACKGROUND: Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) and large cell carcinoma with neuroendocrine morphology of the lung are both currently classified as subtypes of large cell carcinomas according to the World Health Organization IASLC classification system for lung and pleural tumors. Prognosis is reported as similar to that of small cell carcinomas. There is no consensus on management of this subset and adjuvant chemotherapy is recommended by some for early stage LCNEC to impact long-term prognosis. We retrospectively reviewed a cohort of patients at our institution who had this type of tumor to determine factors that might influence survival.
METHODS: Twenty-one cases of LCNEC and large cell carcinoma with neuroendocrine morphology were identified in the files of the Royal Brompton Hospital between 1986 and 1999. All patient data were reviewed, and complete follow-up was achieved with 20 of these patients. RESULTS: Of the 21 patients identified, 20 underwent resection with systematic nodal dissection in 18. There was no in-hospital mortality. Of those patients fully staged by systematic nodal dissection, 9 were stage I, 5 were stage II and 4 were stage III. Median follow-up was 25 months (range, 2 to 120 months). At the time of review, 11 patients were alive and free of disease. One patient was alive and free of disease when lost to follow-up. Nine patients had died, 7 related and 2 unrelated to disease. The 5-year actuarial survival for the entire group was 47%. The actuarial survival of accurately staged, stage I patients at 5 years was 88%. The actuarial survival of patients in stage II and III was 28% at 5 years.
CONCLUSIONS: LCNEC and large cell carcinoma with neuroendocrine morphology are aggressive tumors, but patients with completely resected disease after systematic nodal dissection have a better prognosis than previously described. Patients with more advanced disease have a poor prognosis.